Made With Love
Show Mom how much you love her with a desert-inspired DIY gift. The Sonoran Desert is full of plants that can be used to make delicious edible concoctions. Follow the activity below to make homemade prickly pear jelly. Add it to sparkling water or yogurt, pour it over pancakes and ice cream or spread it on bread and crackers.
Homemade Prickly Pear Jelly
There are many varieties of prickly pear cactus in the Sonoran Desert. The pads (stems of the cactus) come in shades of green and purple. Prickly pear can be found from southern Canada to South America.
Many desert animals use prickly pear cactus as shelter or for food. Packrats, javelina and jackrabbits eat the flesh of the pads and birds, coyotes and javelina enjoy the fruit.
- Prickly Pear fruit (about 10 to 20) harvested from your backyard or purchased at your local grocery store. Food City is a good store to find the seasonal fruit.
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 package of fruit pectin
- 4 ½ cups of white sugar
- Pint size jars
- 1 cup measuring tool
- Simmer pint size jars in a large pot of water until ready for use.
- Slice off each end of the prickly pear and make one long cut down the center of each. Peel the skin and discard it.
- Place the peeled fruit in a blender and puree until liquefied.
- Press the puree through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the pulp and seeds.
- Measure three cups of prickly pear juice, lemon juice and pectin into a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continually. Once boiling, add the sugar and return to a boil. Continue stirring constantly. Let it cook for three minutes and then remove from heat.
- Pour out the mixture into your jars. Fill most of the way to the top. Replace the cap.
- Place a rack in the bottom of a pot and fill half way with water. Bring it to a boil and put the jars in the pot. Add more boiling water if necessary until the top of the jars are covered. Let the water come to a rolling boil and cover the pot for 15 minutes.
- Remove the jars and place on a sturdy surface. Let cool for at least 24 hours.